A spike in livestock thefts in the Yorkshire Dales has been reported by hill farmers.

The theft of vital breeding stock in the Craven area of North Yorkshire is estimated to have cost £122,104.

Ingleton Sergeant Mark Hill, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “The implications of this are that a large amount of meat is probably being used for human consumption but slaughtered in unregulated premises, meaning both public health and animal welfare issues.”

In Craven alone, 25 reports of livestock thefts have been recorded since May 2013 – mainly sheep, worth around £80,000, and also some cattle.

Sgt Hill said that there were probably victims of livestock thefts who did not report them, so the figure could be higher.